USA Swimming Develops ‘HOMETOWN USA’ Project at Second-annual Build-a-pool Conference

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. May 5. MORE than 150 participants representing 45 states attended the second annual Build-a-Pool Conference, held April 6-8 in Colorado Springs, Colo.

The purpose of the conference was to help USA Swimming members acquire knowledge of where to begin the process of building a functional aquatic facility that can meet the operational cost.

This year’s Build-a-Pool was based on an actual project, “Hometown USA.” Participants experienced the entire planning and development process, while sitting in on meetings with some of the foremost aquatic and design experts in the country. They collaboratively worked to design an actual building floor plan that is designed in modules, making it adaptable for multiple facilities.

“The Hometown USA model facility that was presented at the 2006 Build-a-Pool Conference was a 30,000-square foot, multi-use, three-pool complex with extensive aquatic and land programming capabilities,” said Mick Nelson, USA Swimming’s Club Facilities Development Director.

“The plan was designed in modules so the design could be shrunk to 17,000-square feet or expanded as large as necessary. Our Facilities Development Department thinks this model will be a great place to start with schematic design, and we’re excited that three of the conference participants have already expressed interest in building the model facility.”

As a result of the inaugural 2005 Build-a-Pool Conference, six facilities have gone into the actual building stages. Organizers hope the structure of the 2006 conference provided participants with information for building even more new community service-oriented facilities.

“One main focus for this year’s program was the need for total aquatic programming to precede facility design,” said Sue Nelson, USA Swimming’s Aquatic Programming Specialist. “We really wanted to drive home the fact that even if you can get the funding to build an aquatic center, no matter what size, it is all about programming to meet operational expenses.”

“USA Swimming is offering their members opportunities in building their sport and helping the community be part of the process at the same time,” said Ruth Sova, founder of the Aquatic Therapy and Rehab Institute, Inc. (ATRI), a non-profit educational organization dedicated to the professional development of health care professionals involved with aquatic therapy.

“By providing USA Swimming members with valuable information from the aquatic therapy industry, new relationships will be created to assist in the development of the aquatic centers across the country.”

Additionally, other keynote presenters addressed scheduling and a plan how to conduct the business of the facility. Conference participants worked collaboratively to establish various programming needs, including: Aquatic Exercise, Aquatic Therapy and Rehab, Learn to Swim, and Competitive Swimming.

Rose Cholewinski, Swim America Program Director, shared the importance of offering learn to swim with a bridge or a development program that will lead to a swim team or a youth fitness program. Julie See, President and Director of Education, served as the aquatic expert for Aquatic Exercise.

An elite panel of architects, pool consultants and engineers discussed the challenges of designing a model facility. Seventeen manufacturers and service industry representatives from USA Swimming’s preferred providers list provided expertise for equipment selection and a functional design within a given budget.

Overall, conference participants agreed that the format of the conference was especially beneficial.

“Having the knowledge of the complete package it requires to build a facility has changed how I will approach my project,” said Will Woollett of Socal Aquatics in Tustin, Calif. “It is also very comforting to know the depth of assistance available from USA Swimming.”

“All of the presenters provided me with enough knowledge and information to take back and address our needs to the city, school district and college,” said Scott Lawson of Inland Coastal Aquatic Club in San Marcos, Calif.

Mick and Sue Nelson will be teaching a course called “Practical, Profitable and Professional Aquatic Management.” The upcoming dates are: June 1 at the Aquatic Therapy & Rehab Institute in Chicago; and, July 5 at the Aquatic Therapy Symposium 2006 in Fort Myers, Fla.

The 2007 Build-a-Pool Conference is scheduled for April 12-14. Visit for more information, or contact Mick Nelson at

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